By age 3, your child
•understands "who", "what", "where" and "why" questions
• creates long sentences, using 5 to 8 words
• talks about past events - trip to grandparents' house, day at childcare
•tells simple stories
•shows affection for favourite playmates
• engages in multi-step pretend play - cooking a meal, repairing a car
• is understood by most people outside of the family, most of the time
• is aware of the function of print - in menus, lists, signs
3-year-olds like it when you:
•Give them different materials to encourage drawing and scribbling, including chalk, pencils, crayons, markers, finger paints.
• Use descriptive words such as colours and opposites (hot/cold, big/little, fast/slow) as well as action words (flying, splashing, running) when you are talking with them.
• Give them extra time to share their ideas.
• Give them choices - about what foods to eat, toys to play with, clothes to wear.
• Model correct sounds and grammar for them - child says "he wunned" and you say "yes, he ran".
• Read books that are predictable and repetitive - pause to give the child a chance to fill in the words and phrases.
•Play and pretend with them! They may like acting out scenes from their favourite videos, pretending to eat in a restaurant or to be a teacher or firefighter.
From: Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services